After being overpowered by Masahiro Tanaka in the opener of a split doubleheader, the Cubs had little success against Michael Pineda, dropping the nightcap 2-0 on a bitterly cold Wednesday night and being shut out twice in the same day for the first time in more than 50 years.
Tanaka (2-0) struck out 10 and allowed just two bunt hits - one replay aided - over eight innings in a 3-0 win in the opener of the day-night twinbill. Carlos Beltran homered for a third straight game, off Jason Hammel in the first inning of the Cubs‘ first regular-season game at the current Yankee Stadium.
“That split is not something you want to sit on,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Tanaka. “It’s not something you’re going to be able to handle. But, as it was coming out of the hand, as the guys were coming in, they were saying, ‘Gosh, it looks like a fastball. It ends up diving.’”
Brett Gardner and Scott Sizemore had RBI singles off Travis Wood (0-2) in the nightcap, helping the Yankees win for the fifth time in six games and handing Chicago its fourth straight loss.
The Cubs had not been blanked twice on the same day since Larry Jackson and Ray Sadecki pitched complete games for St. Louis on June 27, 1962, according to STATS.
New York had not won by shutout twice in one day since April 9, 1987, against Kansas City, according to STATS, and no team in the major leagues had done it since Minnesota swept Oakland on June 26, 1988.
Chicago was 9 for 61 (.148) at the plate, dropping its season average to .230, and struck out 17 times.
“We battled, and you’ve got to give credit to the pitching staff,” said Emilio Bonifacio, who was 0 for 8 on the day. “They did a good job.”
Hammel (2-1) gave up three runs and five hits in seven innings, striking out five. Wood gave up 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings but just two runs.
Pineda (2-1) was pitching for the first time since he was spotted with a brown goo on his right hand during Thursday’s 4-1 win against Boston, touching off a debate about pitchers’ use of sticky substances to get better grips in cool weather. It was significantly colder Wednesday, with temperatures in the low-40s and a frigid wind, but Pineda’s hand was clean throughout.
“I didn’t do nothing,” Pineda said when asked if he used something to improve his hold on the ball. “I was focusing on throwing the ball good.”
And he did, despite pitching in some really harsh weather. In fact, he said it was the coldest he has ever pitched in.